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RainScapes Neighborhood: Town of Somerset

 

The Town of Somerset is located in the  Little Falls Watershed  and dates back to the turn of the 19th century. It is one of the oldest "suburb" communities established in Montgomery County.

The community was developed on converted agricultural lands, and now has the neighborhood motto: "Where People and Trees Have Deep Roots and Grow Strong," reflecting an active effort to reforest the neighborhood and a strong commitment to improving the local environment. 

 

Stormwater Management in Somerset

The community has curb and gutter drainage systems that flow into the Little Falls Stream system with no stormwater management treatment. The extensive tree canopy in the public ROW limits the potential for  Green Streets stormwater retrofit approaches, leading to a focus on opportunities on private property.

The community was selected as a RainScapes Neighborhood based on the lack of stormwater treatment in the community, and the presence of community leadership to engage resident participation to implement projects on private property. The Town's Natural Resources Committee sponsors ongoing environmental activities and a "sustainability" presentation series, and actively supports RainScapes efforts in the neighborhood.

 

 

Landscaping projects that reduce stormwater runoff are called  RainScapes and they reduce rain runoff from roofs, residential walkways, driveways, and compacted lawns. RainScapes projects such as  rain gardens, conservation landscapes, cisterns and  rain barrelsshade trees, and  dry wells can add beautiful landscaping to your yard, and help control stormwater pollution and stream erosion. These projects may also help reduce drainage problems from adjacent properties. 

 

Neighborhood Goal

The community consists of 407 households, and 38 have been assessed as part of a  RainScapes Neighborhood Assessment . The household participation goal for the Town of Somerset is from 41 to 122 homes. This is based on RainScapes being installed on between 10% and 30% of the homes in the neighborhood. We are currently at 3% of the goal, with 14 projects installed on 12 properties. 

 

Town of Somerset Neighborhood Project Map

The following map shows all the current and completed projects that fall within the Town of Somerset Neighborhood boundary. (Please click the double arrow at the top of the map to see the legend)

 

RainScapes Neighborhood Process in Town of Somerset

The RainScapes Program in the Town of Somerset will provide a RainScapes site assessment consultation for the homeowners upon request, to identify the most suitable projects for a given property, followed by technical support for homeowners to implement a project through the  RainScapes Rewards Rebate Program. This enhanced level of support (providing site assessment consultations) is anticipated to continue until the participation goal of 10% is reached. 

 

Site Assessment and Design

Residents who choose to participate in the RainScapes program are scheduled for a site assessment field visit on their property. At this field meeting, DEP staff or our consultants meet with homeowners to assess the nature of stormwater drainage on and around the property, and where and how it could be treated on-site using a RainScapes project(s).

Based on the outcome of the field meeting, DEP staff will provide a site assessment with recommendations for a range of RainScapes project that could be eligible for rebate funding for a person's property, identifying the best choice(s) for runoff management. The RainScapes Site Assessment does not obligate the property owner to any subsequent activities and is a free service provided by the Department of Environmental Protection. 

To apply for a RainScapes Rewards rebate, the homeowner needs to decide which project(s) they would like to do and then submit an application for each project chosen. All planting projects require a scaled drawing with planting plan and plant list to get the project approved prior to beginning installation. For other project requirements, check here.

DEP RainScapes staff provide technical assistance through the design review process to ensure the project is designed and installed to function as intended. After the installed project passes final inspection, the homeowner submits reciepts for eligible expenses for reimbursement, which typically takes 4 to 6 weeks for processing the rebate reimbursement check. Rewards projects are maintained by the homeowner and will be re-verified with prior notification every three years by RainScapes staff or our consultant to ensure that they are still functioning as intended. 

 

Outreach and Workshop Materials

2014 Town of Somerset Public Meeting PowerPoint

 

How Can I Participate in the Town of Somerset RainScapes Project?

Option One: Request a Site Assessment 

If you are interested in scheduling a RainScapes Site Assessment for your property, contact DEP at   rainscapes@montgomerycountymd.gov or 240-777-7702 and indicate you are in the Town of Somerset. Please leave your name, address and contact information and we will get in touch with you to set up a site assessment appointment for your property. 

Click here to see an example of RainScapes Site Assessment Report (PDF, 2.63MB)

You may also go directly to RainScapes Rewards Rebate application site if you already have a project idea and location in mind for a project. The application process will initiate scheduling a site visit with RainScapes staff to look at your property with you and to discuss your desired project. 

 

Option Two: Add Your Existing Runoff Reduction Project to the Map

If you have already taken steps to "RainScapes" your property and reduce your rainfall runoff footprint but did not participate in the RainScapes Rewards program, please let us know by sending a photo and description, along with the address of your project to   Rainscapes@montgomerycountymd.gov. We are tracking the Neighborhood's runoff reduction progress!

You may also be interested to know, that you could be eligible for a WQPC credit through the DEP   Water Quality Protection Charge Credit Program. Use the above link to find out if you are eligible and learn how to apply for a reduction in the annual fee (WQPC) paid on your property tax bill.

 

Questions

For questions about the Town of Somerset RainScapes initiative, please contact Pamela Rowe, RainScapes Planner, at   pamela.rowe@montgomerycountymd.gov  Or

RainScapes Helpdesk:    Rainscapes@montgomerycountymd.gov; 240-777-7702

 

 
 
 
 
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